Findings — From the April 2018 issue

Findings

Rainy Election Days swing at least 1 percent of voters from Democrat to Republican; partisans tend to think that their candidate is taller than the opposing candidate; and politicians who develop vocal disorders may become more persuasive. Spanish researchers created an AI that can predict provincial corruption. The key vector of exposure to fake news is Facebook. A low opinion of the Bible mitigates the negative effects of pornography on men’s sexual satisfaction. Bilingualism may mitigate autism. Researchers discovered a novel pathway through which “obesogens” make people gain weight. Neutron stars cannot weigh more than 2.16 times as much as the sun, and planets cannot weigh more than ten times as much as Jupiter. Earth scientists concluded that the Anthropocene began in 1952 or 1954. The aerosols released by deep-fat fryers may aid in global cooling. Fresh water is absorbing excess CO2. Oceanic and atmospheric superheating during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction expelled reptiles from the tropics. Rising atmospheric CO2 is making the forest of Barro Colorado Island more flowery. Many old maps contain imaginary islands.

LSD is the most dreamlike drug; barbiturates, the least. Neuroscientists tried to determine why synesthetes who speak different languages all see a red letter “A”. Cartoon bad guys’ faces are more realistic than good guys’. Study participants rated a firefighter named Albert more moral if he chose to save his mother or his best friend from a burning building instead of a famous peacekeeper, and less moral if he saved the peacekeeper or if he saved his mother but “was born with a rare neurological disorder that has made it impossible for him to form emotional attachments.” Engineers created a robotic sleeve that surrounds the heart and squeezes it to help it beat and a crawling robot baby that stirs up particulate matter in carpets. A clinical lecturer in surgery at Imperial College London proposed a scenario wherein “an Oedipus-like individual exposed to a Gödel closed timelike curve would sire a child during his maternal fertilization cycle. As a consequence of heteropaternal superfecundation, he would father his own dizygotic twin and would therefore generate a new class of autofraternal superfecundation, and by doing so creating a ‘twin-father’ temporal paradox.” Hollywood films have increasingly been concluding scenes with a cryptic reaction shot.

Fearful dairy calves tend to be more pessimistic. Bonobos prefer to accept apple slices from humans if the humans are bullies. Female Uca mjoebergi fiddler crabs prefer male robot crabs who increase the tempo of their claw-waving during courtship. Scientists reported success in using a French press to exercise zebrafish. Temporary penises occur as female bearded dragons grow up. Eighteen new spider-hunting pelican spiders were discovered in Madagascar, silky anteaters are seven species, and all marbled crayfish are clones of a single female. A genetic analysis of yeti samples revealed bears. Two California black bears whose paws were burned in wildfires were treated with edible bandages. Authorities admitted the escape of fifty-two Parisian baboons. The moose of Isle Royale are shrinking. Cold temperatures in the United States were causing iguanas to fall from trees. Ultraviolet fluorescence was observed in the bony protuberances of Calumma chameleons. Organizers of an oncology conference in India invited an opening speaker who blames cancer on karma. A goose fell from the sky and knocked unconscious a goose hunter. A king cobra and a reticulated python poisoned and strangled each other, respectively. An octopus suffocated a dolphin who was trying to eat it. In New Zealand, a blind goose named Thomas, who was involved in a love triangle with a swan named Henry, died around the age of thirty-eight; and a gannet named Nigel died on an uninhabited island surrounded by concrete replica gannets. A killer whale in Antibes can now say “bye-bye.”

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